An irregular, irreverent, post-modern account of the surreal, the ordinary, and the bizarre happenings on and around the Felia lavender farm in Crete

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

CAUGHT! Again.

By the time we read the signs it was too late. The sun was bright and the interior of the car was warming as we drove toward Rethymnon to shop today. The road was surprisingly clear, to our left the sea was playful and rollers came shoreward without hesitation. Near to our beach, we passed a police stop point and laughed when we saw that they had pulled a fire engine over. The mood in the car was bright and gay. Early winter days here can be so cheering.

The kombos (interchange) at Rethymnon was deserted and that was out first indication that all was not well. As we drove into the town proper we noticed that kafeneions and zakaroplasteia (pastry and cake shops) were the only ships open. Soon we picked up knots of people - usually a couple of women with a bunch of small children - each child clutching a balloon. The streets were empty. The traffic ridiculously light. To all intents and purposes Rethymnon was shut!

When we were finally confronted with an empty car park, bereft of any staff it was obvious. It was a holiday or feast day! But which one? We had had heavy plant outside the house this morning clearing hedgerows and that was demos (local council) work. Council staff do not work on holidays. Everything in Kavros had been "business as usual". Gill pulled out the Greek diary that has every nameday and holiday noted and consulted it before we left the car. Still nothing obvious. OK, so it was SS Michael and Gabriel's day but even so ... Families with balloons was incontrovertible proof though! Reth was closed!

Of the litany of things that we had wanted to do we managed only to buy some good Guatemalan coffee and enjoy a long relaxing frappe in the dappled sunlight inside at the Figaro cafe. There was no indication of what was happening. No posters. No announcement placards. Nothing. Dribbles of small family parties passed us but outside of that nothing.

Despite our ambition having been thwarted we drove home two very happy campers and finally everything was explained. We dropped in at the supermarket Ariadne where Maria explained that it was a special feast day in Rethymnon, and only Rethymnon. The celebration of the destruction of the Arkadi monastery. Byzantine history we discovered, and an episode of enormous heroics by a Cretan.

What chances a trouble free service tomorrow? So far, this week is refusing to go to plan. Never mind.

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